Certified Organic Cotton
We currently work with two different mills to source the organic cotton used in our fabric. One in Australia and one in LA. The mill in AU is very transparent (see below) and sources fabric from a wonderful farm in India:
They use Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Fairtrade Certified cotton. All the organic cotton yarn comes from Vardhman Textiles, Punjab, India. The cotton is grown without the use of any synthetic chemicals such as fertilizers or pesticides and never uses GMO seeds, azo dyes, heavy metals, formaldehyde or chlorine. We don't deal directly with this supplier. This is a very large organization with 10,000+ employees with strict protocols around HR, sustainability and women’s support, plus education for farmers and workers, building schools and being involved in the community that their workers and growers live in. They are members of the Better Cotton Initiative.
Here is a link to Vardhman's awards and certification documents including current Fairtrade and GOTS certifications. Here is a link to Vardhman's policies.
The mill in LA is less transparent about their sourcing. The organic cotton yarn they use to knit our fabric is OCS certified from Indonesia and the spandex is from South Korea (as is the nylon thread we use in production). Using this US mill greatly lowers our carbon footprint, but we know a lot less about where the cotton is grown, which is not ideal. We are currently working hard on finding a new source for the cotton (including the US, but there are some interesting road blocks we have to navigate).
Knit the US and Australia
The cotton knit in AU is knit at ABMT in Melbourne. The people at ABMT (60 employees) are passionate about their work and have the ability to produce quality products while addressing the issues of environment, sustainability and social responsibility alongside developing innovative new products with increased life expectancy. They have their own settling ponds and recycle 85% of their water plus they separate the dye solids which are composted.
They have many certifications including processing organically grown and milled cotton and they are governed by the Australian labour laws. ABMT employees are well represented by the Australian Textile and Footwear Union, and the facility is audited socially by Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA) and Fairtrade annually. ABMT certifications:
ABMT Australian Organic certification
ABMT OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Certification
The US fabric is knit at Fairway Trading Inc. We have tried to have our fabric knit at several different US mills without any success. Fairway Trading has been delivering lovely fabric. We’re over the moon with the quality, it feels amazing and performs wonderfully. Lowering our carbon footprint and working with a US mill was really important to us, but we want to lower it ever further by sourcing closer to home and finding a source with more transparency. As a small company it’s really hard to get it just right, but we are always moving towards the best possible product for you, for the people in our supply chain, and for the planet.
Keeping it local
All our cotton Thunderpants USA garments are cut and sewn in Hillsboro, Or at Evergreen Apparel Mfg. Evergreen is a Minority Woman-owned factory only 7 miles from our HQ in Portland. We regularly visit the factory - in fact we love going to the factory. It's relatively small, but technically advanced with a very skilled staff. The same 4-5 people work on all our garments for the best consistency. We are really grateful for our partnership with a factory that does such high quality work and shares our values!
Our Swim line is cut at Evergreen and sewn by a contract sewist, Pasion’s Sewing & Alteration. Pasion works for herself and does beautiful and exacting work. She sets her own per-piece rates and hours.
Our fabric is expertly roller printed using water based inks at Uniprints in Los Angeles CA.
Our binding is cut at Bias & Sewing in Seattle, WA.
The wonderful Gurusurya Khalsa does all the product photography for Thunderpants USA. We often use models who have no previous experience (many are real Thunderpants customers) and Gurusurya has a gift for making everyone look and feel wonderful in their bodies. She creates such a safe and loving environment for everyone, and we are so grateful for the care she takes.
Not only is she Thunderpants USA's only photographer, she also helps collaborate with us on styling, print ideas, new products, and more. We truly wouldn't be the company we are today without her!
You can find more of Gurusurya's work on her website, plus take a look at any photo on our website or Instagram.
We fairly compensate all of our models regardless of experience level. We have in the past used volunteers from our customer base who were allowed to keep the garments they modeled and gifted high res photos, but as of 2021 we also pay everyone who models for us.